Orlando rents are growing at the fastest pace in the country, and one expert says it could be nearly two years before the region returns to pre-pandemic increases.
“We have an affordability crisis right now,” said Lisa McNatt, director of market analytics for Orlando for CoStar Group, which tracks rental rates. “Orlando used to be a very affordable home market.”
Rent in the second quarter grew by 18.7% year-over-year, the highest percentage growth in the nation, according to CoStar. The average asking rent in Orlando is $1,819, more than $150 above where it was in January.
Since the start of the pandemic two years ago, the average metro Orlando renter has seen an increase of $380 per month, the seventh highest increase in real dollars in the U.S., CoStar numbers show, which include Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.
The price spike has more Orlando renters seeking financial help, said Jay Mobley, senior housing and consumer debt attorney for Orange County’s Legal Aid Society.
Many are seniors, Mobley said, especially singles with no living relatives.
“They’re living at their maximum,” he said. “They get hit with a $300 or $600 rent increase, it’s just not doable.”
But the effects also are widespread among tourism industry workers in Orlando, where the median average hourly wage of $17.59 is the lowest of the nation’s top 50 metros.
“They’re living paycheck to paycheck,” Mobley said. “Really, the only fix is to increase their income or lower their bills. And the landlord’s not willing to lower that rent because they know they can get it.”
Higher rents are largely spurred by Orlando’s booming population, which will see 1,500 new residents per week, according to the Orlando Economic Partnership.